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Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1)

Act current to 2022-08-08 and last amended on 2022-07-26. Previous Versions

PART 1Access to Government Records (continued)

Access (continued)

Requests for Access (continued)

Marginal note:Extension of time limits

  •  (1) The head of a government institution may extend the time limit set out in section 7 or subsection 8(1) in respect of a request under this Part for a reasonable period of time, having regard to the circumstances, if

    • (a) the request is for a large number of records or necessitates a search through a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution,

    • (b) consultations are necessary to comply with the request that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit, or

    • (c) notice of the request is given pursuant to subsection 27(1)

    by giving notice of the extension and, in the circumstances set out in paragraph (a) or (b), the length of the extension, to the person who made the request within thirty days after the request is received, which notice shall contain a statement that the person has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the extension.

  • Marginal note:Notice of extension to Information Commissioner

    (2) Where the head of a government institution extends a time limit under subsection (1) for more than thirty days, the head of the institution shall give notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner at the same time as notice is given under subsection (1).

Marginal note:Where access is refused

  •  (1) Where the head of a government institution refuses to give access to a record requested under this Part or a part thereof, the head of the institution shall state in the notice given under paragraph 7(a)

    • (a) that the record does not exist, or

    • (b) the specific provision of this Part on which the refusal was based or, where the head of the institution does not indicate whether a record exists, the provision on which a refusal could reasonably be expected to be based if the record existed,

    and shall state in the notice that the person who made the request has a right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner about the refusal.

  • Marginal note:Existence of a record not required to be disclosed

    (2) The head of a government institution may but is not required to indicate under subsection (1) whether a record exists.

  • Marginal note:Deemed refusal to give access

    (3) Where the head of a government institution fails to give access to a record requested under this Part or a part thereof within the time limits set out in this Part, the head of the institution shall, for the purposes of this Part, be deemed to have refused to give access.

Marginal note:Application fee

  •  (1) Subject to this section, a person who makes a request for access to a record under this Part shall pay, at the time the request is made, any application fee of not more than $25, that may be prescribed by regulation.

  • Marginal note:Waiver

    (2) The head of a government institution to which a request for access to a record is made under this Part may waive the requirement to pay a fee or a part of a fee under this section or may refund a fee or a part of a fee paid under this section.

Access Given

Marginal note:Access to record

  •  (1) A person who is given access to a record or a part thereof under this Part shall, subject to the regulations, be given an opportunity to examine the record or part thereof or be given a copy thereof.

  • Marginal note:Language of access

    (2) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Part and the person to whom access is to be given requests that access be given in a particular official language, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in that language

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in that language; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers it to be in the public interest to cause a translation to be prepared.

  • Marginal note:Access to record in alternative format

    (3) Where access to a record or a part thereof is to be given under this Part and the person to whom access is to be given has a sensory disability and requests that access be given in an alternative format, a copy of the record or part thereof shall be given to the person in an alternative format

    • (a) forthwith, if the record or part thereof already exists under the control of a government institution in an alternative format that is acceptable to that person; or

    • (b) within a reasonable period of time, if the head of the government institution that has control of the record considers the giving of access in an alternative format to be necessary to enable the person to exercise the person’s right of access under this Part and considers it reasonable to cause that record or part thereof to be converted.

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 12
  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 100(E)
  • 1992, c. 21, s. 3
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Exemptions

Responsibilities of Government

Marginal note:Information obtained in confidence

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information that was obtained in confidence from

    • (a) the government of a foreign state or an institution thereof;

    • (b) an international organization of states or an institution thereof;

    • (c) the government of a province or an institution thereof;

    • (d) a municipal or regional government established by or pursuant to an Act of the legislature of a province or an institution of such a government; or

    • (e) an aboriginal government.

  • Marginal note:Where disclosure authorized

    (2) The head of a government institution may disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information described in subsection (1) if the government, organization or institution from which the information was obtained

    • (a) consents to the disclosure; or

    • (b) makes the information public.

  • Marginal note:Definition of aboriginal government

    (3) The expression aboriginal government in paragraph (1)(e) means

  • R.S., 1985, c. A-1, s. 13
  • 2000, c. 7, s. 21
  • 2004, c. 17, s. 16
  • 2005, c. 1, ss. 97, 107, c. 27, ss. 16, 22
  • 2006, c. 10, s. 32
  • 2008, c. 32, s. 26
  • 2009, c. 18, s. 20
  • 2014, c. 1, s. 18, c. 11, s. 21
  • 2017, c. 32, s. 17
  • 2018, c. 4, s. 127
  • 2019, c. 18, s. 41(E)

Marginal note:Federal-provincial affairs

 The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct by the Government of Canada of federal-provincial affairs, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

  • (a) on federal-provincial consultations or deliberations; or

  • (b) on strategy or tactics adopted or to be adopted by the Government of Canada relating to the conduct of federal-provincial affairs.

Marginal note:International affairs and defence

  •  (1) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

    • (a) relating to military tactics or strategy, or relating to military exercises or operations undertaken in preparation for hostilities or in connection with the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities;

    • (b) relating to the quantity, characteristics, capabilities or deployment of weapons or other defence equipment or of anything being designed, developed, produced or considered for use as weapons or other defence equipment;

    • (c) relating to the characteristics, capabilities, performance, potential, deployment, functions or role of any defence establishment, of any military force, unit or personnel or of any organization or person responsible for the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities;

    • (d) obtained or prepared for the purpose of intelligence relating to

      • (i) the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada, or

      • (ii) the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities;

    • (e) obtained or prepared for the purpose of intelligence respecting foreign states, international organizations of states or citizens of foreign states used by the Government of Canada in the process of deliberation and consultation or in the conduct of international affairs;

    • (f) on methods of, and scientific or technical equipment for, collecting, assessing or handling information referred to in paragraph (d) or (e) or on sources of such information;

    • (g) on the positions adopted or to be adopted by the Government of Canada, governments of foreign states or international organizations of states for the purpose of present or future international negotiations;

    • (h) that constitutes diplomatic correspondence exchanged with foreign states or international organizations of states or official correspondence exchanged with Canadian diplomatic missions or consular posts abroad; or

    • (i) relating to the communications or cryptographic systems of Canada or foreign states used

      • (i) for the conduct of international affairs,

      • (ii) for the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada, or

      • (iii) in relation to the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.

  • Marginal note:Definitions

    (2) In this section,

    defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada

    defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada includes the efforts of Canada and of foreign states toward the detection, prevention or suppression of activities of any foreign state directed toward actual or potential attack or other acts of aggression against Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada; (défense du Canada ou d’États alliés ou associés avec le Canada)

    subversive or hostile activities

    subversive or hostile activities means

    • (a) espionage against Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada,

    • (b) sabotage,

    • (c) activities directed toward the commission of terrorist acts, including hijacking, in or against Canada or foreign states,

    • (d) activities directed toward accomplishing government change within Canada or foreign states by the use of or the encouragement of the use of force, violence or any criminal means,

    • (e) activities directed toward gathering information used for intelligence purposes that relates to Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada, and

    • (f) activities directed toward threatening the safety of Canadians, employees of the Government of Canada or property of the Government of Canada outside Canada. (activités hostiles ou subversives)

Marginal note:Law enforcement and investigations

  •  (1) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains

    • (a) information obtained or prepared by any government institution, or part of any government institution, that is an investigative body specified in the regulations in the course of lawful investigations pertaining to

      • (i) the detection, prevention or suppression of crime,

      • (ii) the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province, or

      • (iii) activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada within the meaning of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act,

      if the record came into existence less than twenty years prior to the request;

    • (b) information relating to investigative techniques or plans for specific lawful investigations;

    • (c) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the enforcement of any law of Canada or a province or the conduct of lawful investigations, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

      • (i) relating to the existence or nature of a particular investigation,

      • (ii) that would reveal the identity of a confidential source of information, or

      • (iii) that was obtained or prepared in the course of an investigation; or

    • (d) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the security of penal institutions.

  • Marginal note:Security

    (2) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information that could reasonably be expected to facilitate the commission of an offence, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

    • (a) on criminal methods or techniques;

    • (b) that is technical information relating to weapons or potential weapons; or

    • (c) on the vulnerability of particular buildings or other structures or systems, including computer or communication systems, or methods employed to protect such buildings or other structures or systems.

  • Marginal note:Policing services for provinces or municipalities

    (3) The head of a government institution shall refuse to disclose any record requested under this Part that contains information that was obtained or prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while performing policing services for a province or municipality pursuant to an arrangement made under section 20 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, where the Government of Canada has, on the request of the province or municipality agreed not to disclose such information.

  • Definition of investigation

    (4) For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(b) and (c), investigation means an investigation that

    • (a) pertains to the administration or enforcement of an Act of Parliament;

    • (b) is authorized by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament; or

    • (c) is within a class of investigations specified in the regulations.

 
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